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Call it participation, engagement, time on task, attention, or whatever is in vogue, if it means how much time students are involved in the learning experience here are some suggestions that can help.
To improve classroom engagement some important fundamentals must precede other factors. Being an essay writer, I can say that there are often physiological, psychological, and esthetic issues that must be tended to before the implementation of procedures for improved engagement can be effective.
Teachers Must Prepare the Classroom for Students
The classroom must be inviting, neat, clean, and the walls and bulletin boards must offer interesting visual stimulation. Teachers might want to inspect other rooms for ideas.
Once the classroom has been overhauled it wise to address comfort issues like temperature, smell, lighting, etc. Some of these might be beyond teacher control, but teachers might start the process of making a maintenance list and turn it in as often as it takes to get things fixed. Be a nuisance if necessary. Most parents and students will be supportive.
If discipline has not been established in a class, student participation will suffer due to interruptions and uncooperative students competing for attention. If discipline is lacking, the teacher should establish it.
What Does Student Engagement Look Like
Not much learning occurs unless students are mentally involved in the learning process, and there is lots of competition for a lesson. Teachers cannot assume that a still, quiet class is engaged. Indeed, quiet students can be involved in a variety of mental entertainment to the complete exclusion of the teacher. Students who appear to be taking notes might be doodling, drawing, or involved in work for another class.
Conversely, noise often is an indication of good engagement, but teachers might find it annoying or feel as though they have lost control. Engaging students in the lesson will generally require acknowledgment of the possibility. Some teachers are satisfied with a quiet, orderly class. Be advised that student engagement is multi-faceted – often quiet, often loud, often requiring movement. Be willing to manage all possibilities.
Teachers Should Engage Students Though Students’ Senses and Emotions
When it comes to getting student attention it is easy to think mainly of their minds working to process the information in a manner that reflects how it is being presented by the teacher. The often-heard question, “Why do we need to know this?” comes at least partially from a lack of students connecting emotionally with the topic.
New learning is processed and configured based upon what is already known and familiar. Well-selected examples that are intended to address prior learning help learners build a more accurate view of new information. Old information becomes the bricks and mortar for new knowledge. For those unfamiliar with the previously described concept, it is commonly called constructivism.
Most teachers apply some of the concepts of constructivism without even thinking about it. When examples are offered by teachers to make a new concept easier to grasp, that is an example of constructivism. In theory and practice, constructivism means much more. Study up!
Teachers Should Help Students Connect With Examples and Class Activities
In planning a lesson teachers should incorporate examples and activities that help students connect old knowledge with new concepts. It’s not as easy as it might seem to be spontaneous with some examples, as students will have a diverse background of prior knowledge and experiences. Models of various kinds are also helpful – physical and mental. The list below presents a few ideas for improving engagement.
- Ask students what they know about the topic and listen for both similarities (to build on) and differences (to bring closer together);
- Use examples that are interesting, relevant to students, and exemplify the topic;
- Use physical models to attract attention;
- Show enthusiasm, use humor;
- Construct stories and present them convincingly;
- Ask for student examples of experiences that touch the new concept – correct or guide toward a more perfect view of the concept;
- Brush up uncooperative learning techniques, they work well with constructivist theory;
- Respect all contributions of students and listen for learning;
- Offer numerous examples of the concept that are based on student experience; Avoid excessive lecturing and notes – guide and coach;
- Collect games and activities that are genuinely helpful as learning tools that add fun to learning;
- Ask questions that encourage students to frame answers on personal experience;
- Give a brief “stretching” break.
The classroom environment should immerse students in learning. Maps, models, learning centers, etc., should be designed to stimulate learners in a variety of ways.
Homework assignments should be short and focus on personal experiences that encourage students to appreciate what they already know about the topic. When reviewed in class, homework can offer an occasion for the teacher to help challenged students recognize that they share knowledge with the most successful students.
A classroom is just a room if no learning occurs. Students must be engaged in the learning process – not simply attending. Teachers should employ a variety of techniques to pull students into the lesson through their senses and emotions.
Constructivist theory and cooperative learning work well to improve engagement. The techniques applied are most effective when the classroom itself is designed to enhance learning with thought given to furniture arrangement, décor, and overall attractiveness.
About the author: Nicholas H. Parker is a content editor at BuyEssayClub. He used to manage the content team at the company he worked for. Currently, Nicholas writes articles to share his knowledge with others and obtain new skills. Besides, he is highly interested in the web design sphere.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).
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